Cathedrale Notre Dame Papeete Tahiti French Polynesia

3 Days In Tahiti

3 Days In Tahiti

Last updated on March 15th, 2022

Day 3: Papenoo Valley

If you thought the black sand beach at Teahupo’o was the Tahiti you’ve dreamed of, wait until the end of this third and last of your three days in Tahiti. Book a spot with Teuai Olivier from Ia ora na Tahiti Expeditions’ for a day you will never forget. I guarantee that! Olivier is renowned throughout French Polynesia for his cultural know-how. He’s a former two-time Mr. Tahiti champion and one of the premier guides on the island (tell him I say hi).

Papenoo Valley tahiti tropical fruits

Papenoo valley tahiti Topatari Waterfall

The Papenoo Valley follows the contours of the biggest river in Tahiti, deep into the uninhabited center of the island. The only way to explore this wild part of the island is on a 4X4. So unless you have a Tahitian friend who will lend you their jeep, you’ll have to book an excursion. On the menu? Breathtaking mountain vistas, cascading waterfalls, and ancient Polynesian temples.

Papenoo Valley - Tahiti - French Polynesia


Papenoo Valley Tahiti driving through river 2

Papenoo Valley Tahiti French Polynesia - crossing river
Papenoo valley Tahiti waterfall and steep road sign

Papenoo Valley Tahiti huge waterfall
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If you opted for the full-day tour of the Papenoo Valley, it’s now time to exit to the west coast of the island and you’ll start the return leg by going through a tunnel that runs right beneath the highest section of the area. Afterward, you’ll begin the plunge to Lake Vahiria (473m) and continue through a section of an extremely lush rainforest before reaching the highway on the west coast. 

Papenoo Valley Tahiti French Polynesia - mountains 2
Papenoo Valley Tahiti French Polynesia - Tunnel
Papenoo Valley Tahiti French Polynesia - swimming in waterfall
Papenoo Valley Tahiti French Polynesia - Lake Vaihiria

Here’s what the entire day in the Papenoo Valley looked like in this time-lapse video

Dinner and Polynesian Dance Show

When you arrive in Tahiti, ask your hosts when there will be a dinner and dance show taking place at one of the resorts, and don’t miss the opportunity to see Tahitian dancing at its best. The top performances include dance groups that won the annual July Heiva Festival so we are talking about the seriously talented and exotic dancers! 

Tahitian Dancing - French Polynesia 3

What’s Next?

We’ve just scratched the surface, but if you only have 3 days in Tahiti – this is a pretty good plan. For more information about Tahiti and French Polynesia, check out these recommended guides.

Independent Traveler's Guide to French Polynesia


See Full Guide


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